The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Welsh Forum warmly welcomes and fully supports the ‘Aberystwyth Declaration’ made at a packed conference of like-minded groups calling for a step-change in Welsh energy policy. (1)
The conference was the second part of two major meetings held in Ceredigion around the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.
On Friday March 10th the NFLA held its spring Welsh Forum seminar in Ceredigion County Council offices, Canolfan Rheidol. At this seminar a number of expert presentations were provided.
Members were given:
- A detailed presentation by Rob Davies of People Against Wylfa B on its local concerns around the proposed development of the Wylfa B new nuclear reactor.
- An overview by Tim Deere-Jones of the NFLA’s submission to Natural Resources Wales / Environment Agency consultation on the environmental permitting for the proposed reactor design for Wylfa B, which will be published on Friday.
- An overview of the financial and other problems besetting the companies planning to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK by Linda Pentz Gunter of Beyond Nuclear USA.
- A positive presentation on how Councils were developing innovative decentralised energy projects around the UK. This presentation will be given to Anglesey Councillors at their upcoming full Council meeting next week. (2)
On Saturday March 11th the NFLA joined with members of PAWB, CADNO, Greenpeace Cymru, CND Cymru, Cymdeithas yr Iaith and Friends of the Earth Cymru to host a joint conference in the National Library of Wales on the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. The conference had been established to develop a joint campaign to oppose new nuclear build in Wales and promote much more pro-actively renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage across the country.
Attendees were given:
- Overviews of concern from Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru), Julie Ward MEP (Labour), the NFLA Welsh Forum Co-Chair and a senior member of the Welsh Green Party.
- A startling overview of the safety issues at Hinkley Point by Peter Smith of the Stop Hinkley group, who had previously worked at the site for over 30 years.
- An overview of nuclear power in Europe by Reinhard Uhrig of Global 2000 Austria, highlighting its retreat across the continent and the rapid growth of renewable energy.
- Workshops on decentralised energy and developing a joined-up campaign. (3)
The conference concluded with unanimous support for the ‘Aberystwyth Declaration’. This committed the participating groups to encourage Welsh political leaders and trade unions to understand the endemic problems with developing new nuclear reactors and place their support rather in the renewable energy revolution occurring across the world. The statement also called on the “politicians of Wales to embrace the exciting prospect of a nuclear-free environment and a country free from the inherent dangers of that industry. A green energy future offers endless opportunities on a scale compatible with our resources, skills, housing, social and linguistic environment without any of the dangers posed by toxic waste, accidents or terrorism”.
NFLA Steering Committee Chair and Welsh Forum Co-Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
I hope and believe these two inspiring meetings have galvanised the Welsh nuclear free network and brought closer cooperation with the groups across Wales that wish to see renewable energy being at the heart of Welsh energy policy. I warmly welcome and fully support the Aberystwyth Declaration and hope councillors of all political persuasion that are elected in the upcoming May local elections can work with us and other groups to call for a nuclear-free Wales. Renewable energy technologies are rapidly advancing and there is a real desire to move past faded policy to embrace them in Wales. Let’s not fall behind our European neighbours and work together to deliver that energy future and ensure Wales plays a key part in the global challenge to mitigate climate change, reduce the scourge of fuel poverty and bring power practically back to the people.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) The Aberystwyth Declaration for a Green, Nuclear-Free Wales:
In a packed gathering* called to further the debate on our energy future, a meeting in the National Library in Aberystwyth on Saturday agreed UNANIMOUSLY that:
- political leaders in Wales should wise-up to what is happening to the nuclear industry in the rest of the world and to phase it out in this country in favour of newer technologies that are based on indigenous resources as is happening, for example, in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Denmark has legislation requiring that the whole energy supply — electricity, heating/cooling, and transportation — be met by renewable resources. Government energy policy needs to awaken to the economic reality of developing a low carbon economy.
- the unions in Wales advance the renewable agenda, delivering energy security far quicker than anything new nuclear could create and at the same time provide much needed sustainable employment in some of our most deprived communities.
- the dangers posed by creating a further legacy of highly toxic radioactive waste with no pathway for its disposal are unacceptable and an immoral burden for future generations. It is estimated that some 40 terabequerels (mTBq) of radioactive waste will be created during its lifetime should Wylfa Newydd go ahead, a fact that Natural Resources Wales seemed obliviously unaware of during their recent consultation on the proposed ABWR. This is approximately half that of the maximum radioactivity of the legacy wastes stored at Sellafield from all sites over the last 50+ years.
- politicians, both local and national, in Wales and at Westminster, need to be fully aware how current and evolving technologies enable us to store energy in a new generation of batteries, so capturing the power of green technologies on a stable and reliable basis. The Welsh Government should emulate Sweden where a government subsidy covers 60% of the cost of installing a residential energy storage system up to a maximum of $5,600. This applies to the battery, wiring, control systems, smart energy hub, and installation work for homes with rooftop solar systems.
- the chances of Wylfa Newydd going ahead are slim to zero without very large subsidies to get off the ground, so echoing the view of Mycle Schneider, an industry specialist who has advised the German, French and Belgian governments on their future energy programmes. Further, in an interview with Philip Hammond in January 2016, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Hitachi made it clear that they would turn their back on the project if it was not financially viable – i.e without a huge subsidy as with Hinkley Point C.
- the Welsh Government should, as a priority, ensure that the housing stock in Wales is retro-fitted with energy conservation measures, reducing energy requirements by some 15%.
- the Welsh Government should promote the emerging pattern in Scotland where research has found that Scottish renewable energy businesses are working in more than 40 countries in places as diverse as China, Russia, Taiwan and Cape Verde. Firms are involved in projects worth £125.3 million in 43 countries.
- finally, the meeting urged the Welsh Government and politicians of Wales to embrace the exciting prospect of a nuclear-free environment and a country free from the inherent dangers of that industry. A green energy future offers endless opportunities on a scale compatible with our resources, skills, housing, social and linguistic environment without any of the dangers posed by toxic waste, accidents or terrorism. The ultimate no-brainer, and an appropriate response to the Government`s highly acclaimed Well Being of Future Generations legislation!
* Including members of PAWB, CADNO, Greenpeace, Nuclear Free Local Authorities, CND Cymru, Cymdeithas yr Iaith and Friends of the Earth
(2) (3) Presentations from the two meetings will be placed on the NFLA website shortly.